For the third time in his brief career Sunday, John Skelton threw for over 300 yards in a game. Unlike the prior two occurrences, however, Skelton’s feat came in a Week 9 loss to the Packers.
While the third-year quarterback out of Fordham still turned the ball over Sunday and failed to give the Cardinals any sort of lead at Lambeau Field, Skelton’s day was promising heading into a much-needed bye week.
On the Cardinals’ first touchdown drive, Skelton followed a William Gay interception with a beautiful 40-yard deep ball where only wide receiver Andre Roberts could come down with it. The reception set up LaRod Stephens-Howling’s touchdown run two plays later.
Down 24-7 midway through the third quarter, Skelton led the Redbirds on a rather impressive 87-yard scoring drive. He was methodical, hit the open man and didn’t try to force the issue despite the differential on the scoreboard. On the drive, the former fifth round draft pick completed five passes capped off by a 31-yard touchdown catch by Larry Fitzgerald.
It wasn’t quite mastery in motion, but as the Cardinals trimmed the Packers lead to just seven late in the third quarter, it appeared the offense was showing signs of life not seen since the fourth quarter in Week 6 against Buffalo.
While Skelton deserves a bulk of the credit for his big passing day, a lot of the praise should be given to the offensive line. On a day that saw rookie Nate Potter replace D’Anthony Baptiste at left tackle midway through the second quarter, the Cardinals’ front five limited the Packers to just two sacks and seven hits on Skelton.
“I was encouraged by our protection today,” said Ken Whisenhunt. “There were a lot of times John sat back there, made some reads and made some good throws.”
Although it’s probably not in the team’s best interest to have Skelton throw 49 times a game — as he’s averaged over the past two contests — the Cardinals starting quarterback should have had an even better day if not for six drops by his receivers.
Skelton may not have matched reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers mano-a-mano in the touchdown department Sunday, but even in defeat he was certainly impressive on a cold day against an opportunistic defense.
“John was poised in the pocket,” said rookie receiver Michael Floyd. “He was delivering the ball to guys, reading the defense and throwing it to the open guy.”
For the season, Skelton has now thrown for 1,052 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions.